Grid Girls of the Dutch TT Assen MotoGP
Assen MotoGP Images 2015 Gallery F – Images by AJRN
Rossi wins Assen TT duel with Marquez
Valentino Rossi wins in dramatic fashion after an incredible race-long battle with Marc Marquez at the Motul TT Assen.
A massive crowd of over 97,000 fans witnessed one of the greatest MotoGP battles ever today, as nine-times World Champion Valentino Rossi secured a dramatic last corner victory against Marc Marquez at the legendary TT Circuit Assen. After a thrilling race-long duel, Marquez made a brave move on Rossi as the duo entered the final chicane on the last lap.
There was contact between the pair, which forced Rossi to run straight on through the gravel at the Geert Timmer chicane. The Italian managed managed to stay upright though and went on to take the chequered flag 1.242s ahead of Marquez, claiming his third win of the season and first from pole position since Misano in 2009.
Movistar Yamaha’s Rossi, starting from pole for the first time since Valencia last season, led into the first corner and it didn’t take Marquez long to join him after starting from third on the grid, overtaking Aleix Espargaro on the first lap to move into second.
Marquez was happy to sit behind Rossi for most of the race, before making his move and taking the lead into turn 1 on lap 20. Rossi bided his time, and then responded with three laps to go to retake the lead at turn 10. The Italian then put in his fastest lap of the race in an effort to pull away, but Marquez responded on the final lap to get within striking distance once again as the duo approached the final chicane.
Valentino Rossi – 1st / 40’54.037 / 26 laps – “I pushed, and I don’t want to say I did a perfect race, but close. I saw I was not able to get distance from Marc. It’s always difficult with him and you know the battle will be very hard, but I was confident that I was competitive and I wanted to try for victory. In the last laps I pushed a lot and I arrived at the last chicane when Marc tried to overtake but he arrived a little bit too late, I was already into the chicane and we touched a little bit and I had to cut the corner. Essentially I had no choice and I was lucky, because I got on the gravel, but I stayed on the throttle even though I didn’t know how deep it was and I thought there was a chance I could lose control. When I returned to the track I checked the position of Marc, but he had slowed down more than I did. It has been a great weekend and it’s very important because I increased my point advantage over Jorge. I think that in a championship as close as this, it is very important you take the maximum profit when you are competitive and when you like the track, because for sure we will have some more difficult moments. It was fantastic to come back here with a victory. I think we deleted the results of Jerez, where Jorge gained nine points over me and now we have to try to delete also Mugello’s results where he did the same thing. Apart from the joke, it is very important because Jorge did fantastic to cut down a 28 points gap to just one. So to take nine points now is crucial, also because I think this championship will arrive to the last race and the last lap.”
Marc Marquez – 2nd – “I am very happy that I’m back on the podium and I had a good race, fighting for victory until the end. I think it was a moral victory for us, but we were riding at the limit on the last chicane. We have worked very well all weekend and I have to thank the team, because you regain confidence when you’re with the best team in the World. They are helping me a lot and this was shown by the fact that, at a track where we are usually not so strong, we fought for the win until the last corner. We’ll see if we can take another step forward in the coming races. We rode a last lap to win the race, especially on the last chicane. I had studied things well and knew where I had to brake in order to be able to overtake Vale, and so I did that but didn’t end like I wanted….”
Rossi’s teammate Jorge Lorenzo enjoyed a brilliant start from eighth on the grid, and found himself in third after the first lap. Any hopes the Spaniard had of making it five wins in a row disappeared shortly afterwards though, as Rossi and Marquez pulled away at the front and disappeared off into the distance. The double MotoGP World Champion eventually crossed the line 14.576s behind his teammate in a lonely third position and slipped 10-points behind Rossi in the World Championship standings.
Jorge Lorenzo – 3rd – “We are still ten points behind the leader, which is good. It was 29 points after Argentina so now ten points after a difficult weekend that we had before a race is not so bad. I make a good start, I was really focused in the first lap to recover positions and did it faster than I expected, because I was already in third position when we crossed the finish line for the first time. I tried to keep up with the pace of Valentino and Marc, but they were really strong and I realized that today was not the day. Today was the day to fight and keep this third place, which is very good for the championship. If we struggle and still finish in third place, it’s a good thing. Valentino was a little bit more competitive here from the beginning, Marc improved his bike and was more comfortable to keep up the pace and for us it was the opposite. We found that the harder tyre gave us a little bit more problems and in two sectors I couldn’t be fast enough and lost so much time in sector two and four. In both I lost half a second and that made it impossible to have a good pace. The next race will be a bit more complicated at Sachsenring, because I’ve never won there, but you don’t know what might happen.”
Ducati Team’s Andrea Iannone (+19.109s) was another four seconds back to finish in a lonely fourth.
Monster Yamaha Tech 3’s Pol Espargaro won an incredible battle for fifth that saw four riders all finish within 0.4s of each other. The Spaniard also finished as the leading Satellite rider after he crossed the line just 0.105s ahead of CWM LCR Honda’s Cal Crutchlow in sixth.
Pol Espargaro – 5th – “Of course, I have to be pleased with the fifth position today, yet it was a very tough race. Unfortunately, I had a lot of difficulties with my right forearm again, which I have recently had surgery on and the last six laps were particularly tricky. I ran wide in the fast corners and couldn’t brake, so to be honest, riding like this was anything but easy. In the last three laps, I even started to think that I wouldn’t be able to finish the race as I was convinced I would run wide and crash somewhere. Yet, I kept fighting and held my position until the finish line, but I just tried to be as big as possible in the last lap to make the others struggle to go past me as I had nothing more to give on the brakes. Therefore, beside the satisfaction of the good result, there is also some frustration because in this situation it will be tricky to continue racing due to the problem itself which is also painful. However, tomorrow we will fly, as scheduled, to our first test in Japan for the 8 hour race and face this new challenge after the good result here in the Netherlands.”
Espargaro’s teammate Bradley Smith was seventh in front of Repsol Honda’s Dani Pedrosa (+24.656s), who had fought back valiantly after a crash in the earlier Warm Up session and a disastrous start that saw him down in 12th after the first lap.
Bradley Smith – 7th – “Overall, I am pleased to walk away from the Assen track with another solid finish even though it was hard work in this race. It was especially difficult behind the Honda and Ducati bikes as they have to be ridden in different styles when compared to the Yamaha, so it wasn’t easy at all to find my way through. To be honest, it was a bit of shame that I qualified in 12th yesterday as I definitely felt that I had the bike underneath me which was strong enough for 4th position. In the second part of the race, I tried to pass Pol with around eight laps left to go, but I ran off track and then had to move back through the group all over again. I thought that I could have overtaken him and then broken away so it was a pity that I ran wide. Nevertheless, beating two factory bikes was great, especially as it was in one on one battles, so I’ve got to be pleased with my performance. Also the top satellite bike was only two bike lengths in front, which means we have been competitive again. I must say thanks to the team for the great job and I look forward to getting back on my Yamaha M1 at Sachsenring.”
Dani Pedrosa – 8th – “It was a bad day. I had a very strange crash in the morning: I was going straight, braking, and the tires were already up to temperature –but I lost the front without warning. Unfortunately the bike was damaged, then I took off my glove and saw I had cut my finger but I was still able to return for the race. I had to use my second bike and I had a problem with it, because when I released the clutch at the start the bike did not react. I had to release it completely and began to slide. I went from fourth to thirteenth and I lost many positions, but in addition I also had a problem with the brakes. I tried to adjust it but I could not control the bike under braking. It was very difficult to adapt, but in the end I managed to make up some places. However, I couldn’t brake well and on the last lap Crutchlow took me out on the chicane and I lost more positions.”
The Team Suzuki Ecstar duo of Aleix Espargaro and Maverick Viñales were next across the line in ninth and tenth respectively, ahead of Octo Pramac Racing’s Danilo Petrucci (11th) and the second Factory Ducati of Andrea Dovizioso in twelfth.
EG 0,0 Marc VDS’s Scott Redding finished 46.663s back from Rossi in 13th, while Loris Baz (Athina Forward Racing) took the Open class victory for the second time in three races ahead of Aspar MotoGP Team’s Nicky Hayden who crossed the line in 16th.
Loris Baz – 15th – “It was a tough race, but I’m happy with the end result. I struggled in the first half of the race, I could not push as I wanted, but the more laps the better was my pace. In the end I was very fast and I finished first in the Open class. I’m pretty satisfied if I think that until yesterday afternoon my health condition was badly affected by an intestinal virus. Only two points separate me from Barbera and this is one more reason to be happy. Thanks to all the team and the sponsors for their support: we can now go for the lead of the Open class.”
Hector Barbera and Jack Miller were involved in a crash on the very first lap that resulted in the Spaniard having to go to the medical centre for checks on his right leg, although he was later declared free of injury.
Jack Miller – DNF – “I got a really good start and had a small touch with Eugene Laverty off the line, but after that I recovered. Coming into the last corner I tried to pass Bautista but my rear tyre overtook my front tyre and I got a little nudge from someone. It was unfortunate because I felt quite good here all weekend and my pace wasn’t so bad, so to end it like this was a shame. We are working hard every week, and I look forward to getting back to racing at Sachsenring. I’m more disappointed about losing the experience of racing here, we’ve missed out on a lot of laps and we are here to make laps. If we kep working hard I’m sure we can do a great job in Germany next time.”
Alex De Angelis, Eugene Laverty and Stefan Bradl also crashed out; with the latter finding out he had fractured the scaphoid in his right wrist after an X-ray at the Medical Centre.
Stefan Bradl – DNF – “Too bad, my race ended earlier than expected when I was leading the Open class and I was close to the points zone. I lost the rear and I could not do anything to prevent the fall. Unfortunately I broke my right scaphoid during the impact and I propably will have to undergo surgery to reduce the fracture.”
Rossi’s (163pts) victory, his 85th in the premier class, means he has extended his lead in the championship standings over Lorenzo (153pts) to 10 points with ten races to go.